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Being married to an Argentine citizen should make the process of getting permanent residence straight forward, right? Wrong! Though in theory being awarded residence in such a case is as simple as presenting the correct documents and waiting a few weeks for the permit to be issued, in practice the Argentinian bureaucracy makes getting everything in order a complete nightmare.

This article explains what's required to "tramitar" your residence and presents some real experiences on typical hold-ups.

If at all possible, I recommend using an immigration agency or specialised lawyer to help you with the Argentinian immigration process - the marginal cost incurred will likely save you many hours of wasted time!

If you go-it-alone, this is what you'll need (subject to change - check with migraciones for current requirements):

  • original marriage certificate
  • current passport
  • original birth certificate
  • police reports (criminal records) from your country of birth plus all countries you've lived in within the last five years.
  • police report (antecedentes)from Argentina

* All of the above documents (except the passport) that were not issued in Argentina will require an Apostille (apostilla) from an office in your home country. An Apostille is not merely a "verified copy" - it is a seal and signature issued by a special office in your home country that conforms to an international convention of the Hague. Some countries are not parties to this convention - if you're from such a country then contact the Argentinian embassy in your country for further details.

Note: your country's embassy in Argentina cannot normally issue Apostilles so if you're already in Argentina then you'll have to send the documents back to your home country to get them apostilled.

* Any of the above documents that are not in Spanish (including your passport) will require a Spanish translation performed by a translator registered in Argentina and verified by the colegio de traductores[2].

It seems crazy to need an Argentinian police report if you've never lived in Argentina before but unfortunately that's just the way it is. You can get your antecedentes certificate (as it's called) at the immigration office[1] or at the Registro de Antecedentes[3] but for much of this year there were huge queues at both places and only a limited number of turnos to be given each day - meaning that if you didn't queue from around 6 o'clock in the morning, you'd miss out and have to try again another day.

Once you have all of the documents (originals, Apostilles and official translations), then photocopy them all and take them and the photocopies along to the immigration office[1]

Ask the information desk where you need to go, then take a number and wait (1 hour on a good day or 2-3 hours on an average day). Despite there being about 4-5 tellers to serve the crowd, the workers mostly seem to be content to chat to each other, take long breaks and pretend to be busy with something else. Once your number is called, one of the public servants will look over your documents and most likely tell you that something is missing or incorrect. Your only option is to go away, fix the problem and try again another day (join the queue...) If you get lucky on the first day then congratulations - you've made a new record! (Please let clickArgentina.com know!)

One day when your documents are eventually accepted you'll be allowed to pass through to the coveted "other room" where you'll have to pay a couple of hundred pesos, sign some documents and have your photo and thumbprint taken. Well done - the hardest part is over. You'll be given a residencia precaria and told to come back again in 1-2 months time.

Assuming that nothing dodgy is found with your application, in a couple of months time you'll be the proud new owner of an Argentinian permanent residence certificate, which you can then use to apply for a DNI (national identity document) which will take about another 3 months (another story...)

That's all - easy!

Have more questions or things to discuss about the immigration process? Try the Immigration forums.
Notes
[1] Immigration office
Dirección Nacional de Migraciones
Av. Antártida Argentina 1355
Retiro
C-1104 Buenos Aires
[2] Colegio de Traductores
Av. Corrientes 1834
C-1022 Buenos Aires
[3] Registro de Antecedentes
Calle Tucumán 1300
(between Uruguay and Talahuano)
Buenos Aires

Published 25-Sep-2007

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Comments

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clickArgentina said "It's getting better..." on 5-Feb-2008,
At least one thing has improved since I went through the process to get permanent residency;

Now there is no longer a need to queue for hours from 6am in the morning to get an Argentinian police report (antecedentes).

Just call this number to make an appointment and they'll give you a specific hour on a specific day when you can present your documents without queueing: 0800-666-0055.

I did this recently (at Piedras 115) and the whole thing was done within about 5 minutes. I can go back in 1 week to collect the certificate. What an amazing change!

For now the rest of the residency process remains a nightmare but saving time on getting the antecedentes is a good step in the right direction.


Gregory said "Ordering docs/certs" on 19-Feb-2009,
Hi there,

Currently in the sorting out process and ordering up my Apostille docs from outside Argentina. As I will be going through the permanent residency process and then for my DNI - I wish to order all that I need from my home country in one go. Do you know if Dirección Nacional de Migraciones and/or DNI keep the original Apostille copies of my Birth Cert, etc or do they give them back? Hence I will only have to order one Apostille copy of my docs to do both applications - correct?

If they do keep them will they accept a copy of my Apostille docs which has been stamped as a certified copy from embassy, then translated, etc?

By the way I just turned up at Registro de Antecedentes @ Calle Tucumán 1300 to get my police report - had to wait about an hour (sat in the coffee shop next door). Was straight forward and no waiting around to pick up the report 48hrs later. Was a helpful policeman there would helped me fill in the form. Really in other terms of getting things done this was pretty easy.

I have been given, read and heard that "all documents issued abroad must be authenticated by the Argentina Consulate in the country of issuance or ...apostille..." Was down at the Ministerio de relaciones exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) - Arenales 819 - then went and double checked with my own embassy - both told me that the only way is Apostille by my own Ministry of Internal Affairs - this applies for both NZ and OZ. Plus there is definitely no way of doing it here. So if you order up your certs/docs get them sent straight to your home country issue office.

Regards.
clickArgentina said "Nice to know" on 21-Feb-2009,
Thanks for that Gregory - it's good to hear that it's easy to get an antecedentes certificate now.

It's a while since I went through the permanent residence process now but I'm pretty sure that the authorities kept all my original apostillised documents - they definitely kept the police reports anyway (and I needed them from three different countries!)

Correct, you'll need your documents to be apostilled in their country of issuance. The local embassy wont be able to do that for you, though they can probably send them back to your country for fast-track processing. All of my documents were apostilled rather than being authenticated by the Argentine Consulate so I can't comment on whether consulate-certified documents will be accepted.

One thing I've learned about getting official documents is that it's always best to get multiple copies. It's a real pain when your only copy of a document is kept by authorities. Order two copies just to be safe!

Am I right in guessing you're from NZ? Unfortunately the NZ police reports are worded in a slightly ambiguous way (along the lines of 'this person has no criminal record, or we cannot disclose whether he has a criminal record...') and it's hit and miss whether the immigration people accept your NZ police report as is! They thought mine was suspicious and said that other NZ certificates aren't worded that way, then proceeded to show me someone else's certificate which _was_ worded exactly the same (other than the name of course) but the other guy's translation conveniently (erroneously) skipped the "cannot disclose" part. End result? They required me to get a letter from the NZ Embassy ("legalised" in Argentina of course) that stated that NZ really do word their police certificates that way.

Good luck and enjoy your stay in Argentina!
Whitney Grant said "Passport translation" on 26-Feb-2009,
hi! i am currently translating all of my documents with a translator. do i only need to translate the main page (the one with my picture) of the passport or every page?
clickArgentina said on 9-Mar-2009,
Though someone mentioned to me that you need every page translated that's really not the case. The immigration people don't expect you to have every entrance/exit stamp translated from every country you've visited!

You do need to supply the translator with your passport and a photocopy of every page, but only the information page(s) need to be translated, and perhaps any other pages that contain something significant on them (like the observations page, deportation stamps(!), etc.)

So you should be fine with just the main page translated, but of course the immigration people are the ones that have the final say!
someone said "SETTING UP IN ARGENTINA - PERMANENT RESIDENCE" on 26-Feb-2010,
* this comment has been moved to our immigration forum: "SETTING UP IN ARGENTINA - PERMANENT RESIDENCE"
Kelly said "FBI or State?" on 19-Oct-2010,
Hi,
Just wondering if anyone knows if a State Criminal background check is sufficient or if I need an FBI background check?
Thanks!
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